Previous month:
July 2017
Next month:
October 2017

September 2017

Florida to Launch Online Voter Registration October 1


The Florida Department of State is scheduled to launch its new online voter registration website on Sunday, October 1, 2017. According to state officials,, offers Florida residents another way to register to vote or update an existing registration. The website is touted as convenient, secure and easy-to-use. The website will go live as directed by the Florida Legislature in Section 97.0525 Florida Statutes.

In 2015, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill directing the department to implement online voter registration on October 1, 2017. Florida joins 35 other states and the District of Columbia that have online voter registration available to their residents.

Any Florida resident who is eligible to vote or is already registered to vote in Florida can use to submit an application, update an existing registration or prefill an application form to print and deliver to a Supervisor of Elections office.

Contrary to current voter registration procedure, users will need a Florida driver license or state identification (ID) card and the last four digits of their social security number to register online. Currently, only one of the three is required to register to vote. Once an individual’s identity is verified and the application is deemed complete, a voter information card is issued by the local Supervisor of Elections office.

Investigations confirming Russian attempts to hack America’s elections have heightened concerns regarding potential manipulation of registration and voting data. proclaims multiple safeguards in place to verify and protect a person’s identity and personal information, including a state-of-the-art firewall, data encryption, captcha boxes, session time-out after inactivity and the use of multi-screens. The website requires information that only the person seeking to register or change an existing registration should know, such as the issue date of their Florida driver license or state ID card, their Florida driver license or state ID card number and the last four digits of their social security number. All of this information is verified in real-time in order for a person to complete the application process online. If the information cannot be verified, a person is not able to move forward with submitting the application electronically. Additionally, there is no retention of data within the website because it is securely transmitted to an internal system. will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is offered in English and Spanish, is accessible for persons with disabilities and is mobile-friendly.

If you choose to use this new system, feel free to share your experience at What’s most important is that you get out and vote. 






Proud And Persistent: The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. Celebrates 40th Anniversary At Annual Symposium Workshop & Awards Luncheon


WASHINGTON/PRNewswire/ -- The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. (BWA) celebrated its 40th anniversary, Thursday, September 21, 2017, hosting its Annual Symposium Workshop & Awards Luncheon in the nation's capital and encouraging the more than 1,200 elected officials, journalists, corporate and community leaders and members of its National Collaborating Organizations who attended the event to help chart a path for the future.

"For 40 years, The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. has protected, secured, and advanced, the issues and rights of African-American women and their families," explained BWA President Gwainevere Catchings Hess. "Today we pay tribute to our founders. In these anxious and uncertain times, we also reaffirm our commitment to speaking truth to power and securing for Black women all of the opportunities and privileges America promises its citizens."
During its Awards Luncheon, BWA continued the tradition of recognizing the achievements of phenomenal women. This year's award recipients included:

The Honorable Kamala D. Harris – Dynamic U.S. Senator representing the State of California and a lifelong public safety and civil rights leader. Serving as California's Attorney General, Harris prosecuted transnational gangs exploiting women and children and trafficking in guns and drugs. As a member of the Senate, she co-introduced a bipartisan bill which encourages states to reform or replace the practice of money bail. She spoke out against President Donald Trump's decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military and called upon him to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides immigrant students who arrived in the U.S. as children with temporary relief from deportation. Senator Harris was presented with BWA's President's Award.

April Ryan – White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Network and a political analyst for CNN, accepted BWA's Education Award. A member of the White House press corps for more than 20 years, Ryan has distinguished herself by conducting one-on-one interviews with Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, as well as key members of their administration. She has also kept issues of interest and importance to minorities front and center by posing tough questions to President Donald Trump and his staff during press conferences and White House briefings.

Cadet Simone Askew – The first African-American woman to lead the 4,400 Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point received BWA's Pinnacle Award. An international history major from Fairfax, VA, Askew assumed the highest position in the cadet chain of command last month. As first captain, she is responsible for the overall performance of the Corps of Cadets as well as serving as a liaison between the cadets and the military school's administration.

Patricia A. Maryland, Dr.PH – Executive Vice President Ascension and President and Chief Executive Officer Ascension Health Care, was the recipient of BWA's Health Award. Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. Dr. Maryland has responsibility for the strategic and operational aspects of Ascension Healthcare, with more than 141 hospitals and 2500 sites of care in 24 states and Washington, DC.

Dr. Hazel N. Dukes – President, NAACP New York State Conference, was introduced as the organization's Economic and Business Awardee. Dr. Dukes has a long and devoted record of helping to improve the quality of life in New York State, promoting equality and human rights, and linking business, government, and social causes. Dr. Dukes also serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors and the organization's Executive Committee.

Briana Richardson – a freshman at Spelman College, majoring in political science received BWA's Bright Future Award, which recognizes a student or group of students whose academic achievements and service to school and community distinguish them as future leaders and success stories. The co-founder and president of her high school's "The Activist Among Us Club," Richardson was named by former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as one of the state's "Outstanding Young People."

This year, BWA's perennially popular workshop invited women to focus on themselves by "Living Your Best Life at Every Age." Moderated by lawyer and television personality Star Jones, the interactive forum encouraged the nearly 700 participants to broaden horizons, welcome challenges and agitate norms. Panelists included: Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications, Inc.; Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO, Black Women's Health Imperative; Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Ph.D., Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer, Howard University and former president of Shaw University; Cadet Simone Askew, First Captain, Corps of Cadets, United States Military Academy; Nikki Giovanni, Distinguished Professor, Virginia Tech University and a celebrated poet, writer, and activist, and Claudia Jones, Senior VP, Public Affairs and Communications, AT&T.

BWA also hosted an Inform & Inspire workshop for middle-school age girls enrolled in a Washington, DC chapter of Girls, Inc. The program featured Kara McCullough, a physical scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the reigning Miss USA who, in a lively, candid discussion, reminded the girls that pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, setting goals and working hard to realize them can be a beautiful thing.

In the United States these days, the word "out" is popping up with disturbing frequency," said BWA's Hess. "There are people who want to kick LGBTQ service people 'out' of the military. There are those who are in favor of building a wall to keep immigrants 'out' of our country. Officials are redrawing districts in various cities to keep some citizens 'out' of the voting booths. That's not who we are as a nation, and it can't be what we allow America to become. Today, I ask you to reject the politics of fear, hatred, and division and focus instead on the word 'in.' Invite, inform, inspire, initiate, instruct, invest, innovate, include. We must take an active role in reclaiming this nation's conscience, and we must begin this work today."


Labor Day Memories in Florida: Racism, Respect and Equity Unrealized

Today is Labor Day, a federal holiday celebrated here in the United States. Schools are closed. Most governmental entities on all levels are closed. Banks are closed. There is no mail delivery. Many people are not working. They will flock to the beach or enjoy cookouts or just relax in front of a television or take advantage of sales at the mall or online. So, what is the purpose of this holiday we call Labor Day?

Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday in September, was designed to honor the American Labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the success of the nation. Labor Day Weekend is also considered the end of summer. 

My email boxes have been overrun with perfunctory messages acknowledging and celebrating Labor Day. The message below was very different as it conveys the true sacrifice of American labor. It touches upon a movement not discussed nearly enough. It impacted me personally as both of my parents participated in the Florida Statewide Teachers' Walkout which resulted in my family relocating to Miami. Please read this reflection penned by NAACP Florida State Conference President and NAACP National Board of Directors member Adora Obi Nweze.



Subject: Labor Day Memories

Good Morning All,

This Labor Day marks a special time for many of us. It marks the 50th year Anniversary of the Florida Teachers' Walk Out. The purpose of the Walk Out was to fight for many working rights that we did not have. As members of the working class, I still can't believe all we endured in the face of criticisms hurled at us daily throughout the Walk Out. The memories will be seared in my mind forever. The pain of being told that , "real teachers were in the classroom". I remember the tears that flowed from my eyes, knowing that I loved all children just as l loved my own. And I still do and always. I began my teaching career feeling the fight would never end. Little did I know I would be right. During my years as a Miami-Dade County Public Schools District Administrator in the areas of Title 1 , Special Education, Teen Parent programs and other Alternative Education programs, I never forgot for one day, my experiences as a teacher. I wanted every teacher to know that I was privileged to work with them and that they were a part of the most honorable professions in the world. They deserved to be paid, respected, honored and treated like the top professionals that they were and would always be.

This year, I have been invited by the Florida Education Association (FEA) to participate as one of the major speakers to dialogue about the WalkOut days. I feel honored to share publicly for the first time my own experiences. Many thanks to FEA for the opportunity. No matter where I go or what I do, I will always be a Master Teacher and a member of the World's Number One Profession.

Adora Obi Nweze

As American workers continue to address working conditions, income disparity and fight for livable wages. As the assault and dismantling of public education and labor unions continue, the significance of Labor Day should be shared with the generations of Americans that have benefited from the sacrifices of those who paved the way for equal pay, equal rights and civil rights. I recall my parents praise for the teacher unions (FEA and United Teachers of a Dade) for ensuring black teachers the same pay as their white colleagues. Also, opportunities for educational and employment advancement for all teachers were celebrated and appreciated.

I thank my parents, Adora Obi Nweze, and every other teacher who participated in the movement that forever changed labor laws in Florida. Unfortunately, the courage and faith it took to choose dignity, integrity, respect and equality rather than endure disparate working conditions may no longer be embraced by this current generation of leaders and workers. Locally, many of the gains of the striking teachers appear to have been lost especially when it comes to advocating for and ensuring the effective teaching and learning of black children and advocating and ensuring there are education leadership opportunities for community-oriented black administrators. 


One of my favorite writers and commentators is trial lawyer Chuck Hobbs of Tallahassee. To fully understand and frame this holiday we celebrate, I strongly encourage you to read and share his post: The Labor Day Holiday derives from racism and violence towards Black Workers. Here's an excerpt:

In May of 1886, the Haymarket Riot in Chicago erupted when workers who were staging a peaceful protest were met by a contingent of police officers. A bomb exploded, gunfire was exchanged, four people were killed and four anarchists were later hanged.

While an unofficial commemoration of the Haymarket Riot would come to be celebrated as “Labor Day,” seven years after the Haymarket Riot, during President Grover Cleveland’s second non-successive administration (Cleveland served from 1884-88; Benjamin Harrison served interregnum from 1888-92, when Cleveland won again), a Pullman Railroad Strike that placed America dangerously close to a second civil war would serve as the backdrop of what would officially become the Labor Day holiday that we still observe.

Inarguably there is still much work to be done to change the consciousness of Black people, strategize, energize and mobilize for progress. We have the opportunity to effect positive change. Do we have the courage? Do we have will? To the disdain of our forebearers, have we essentially been neutered into lip service and excuses? 

There are far too few examples of leaders in the Black community in Miami that demonstrate the integrity and intestinal fortitude to truly fight the good fight for the people rather than for their individual notoriety or financial gain. Let's support people who support us. Most important let's start by supporting ourselves and our community.